CNES TRADING STANDARDS FAKE INVOICES WARNING

Trading Standards at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are warning businesses across the Islands to be vigilant in relation to possible scams involving fake invoice requests sent by email to businesses across the Islands.
The Comhairle has had a recent report of a business receiving a demand for payment that, in this case, appeared to be from a business they did in fact deal with and expect to make payments to. However, it appears a hack took place of a genuine email account leading to an invoice being sent that, although appearing legitimate, had been fraudulently altered by changing the payment bank account details changed to that of a fraudster. Fortunately, this was spotted in time and no payment was made.
Jay Moran from CnES Trading Standards, said:
“Criminals will use sophisticated and often extreme means such as this to try and take money from both consumers and in this case businesses, too. Please be careful when making any electronic payments to others, including when regular and expected demands for money are made. If in any doubt, take time to think and make every effort to confirm the invoice is genuine and satisfy yourself that the money is going to the right person or business.”
Any queries/concerns should be directed to Trading Standards on 01851 822694 or ts@cne-siar.gov.uk

MSP WELCOMES SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT COST OF LIVING PAYMENT

SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, welcomed the financial support committed by the Scottish Government recently to help households with the cost of living crisis, though emphasised that this was a problem created by the UK Government, and one which only they had the power to fix.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes outlined plans to give 73% of Scottish households (those in council tax bands A to D and those eligible for council tax reduction) a £150 payment, with a further £10m to be targeted at people struggling with fuel bills.
Before the budget amendments were announced, Allan again raised the issue of the significantly higher impact of the price cap rise on island homes with Energy Secretary Michael Matheson, asking:
“The UK’s recent price cap hike will cause many energy bills in the Western Isles to rise potentially even higher than Ofgem’s 54% increase from April, but what can the Scottish Government do to press the UK Government to remedy what has just been inflicted on vulnerable people in the islands?”
The Energy Secretary was sympathetic and said the UK Government should look to remove the obligations which are placed on energy tariffs which would help to reduce the cost of electricity as a source of heating, as well as expanding the Warm Homes Discount Scheme.
Allan has also lodged a motion emphasising the devastating consequences of rising energy bills for island households in particular, and is hoping to secure a Members’ Debate on the issue.

COMHAIRLE CALL FOR URGENT ACTION ON FERRIES

With ferry services in chaos throughout the Inner and Outer Hebrides as a result of over runs in the CalMac dry docking schedule and other issues, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is calling for urgent action from CalMac and Scottish Government to ensure lifeline service is restored and a community voice is listened to.
While Scottish Government has committed new funds – with a commitment to order two new ferries for Islay to a design that can fit nearly every harbour on the network along with the delayed ferries being built by Ferguson Port Glasgow – this will not be enough to address the existing renewal needs of the CalMac ferries fleet.
To provide short term relief an opportunity exists for Government to purchase MV Pentalina which could enter service immediately to either Arran or Mull and allow redeployment of another ferry to shore up the delivery of services across the network.
Government also needs to increase the planned order of the new Islay ferries from the planned two to at least four ferries. This action would go a long way to re-setting the decades of underinvestment in ferries and give island communities genuine confidence that Government will support their economic recovery from the most challenging period in living memory.